Bring the heat, or dial it down? Movie-star sex, or soft-core snuggling? Here’s how to read her mind—and make sex way hotter.
Men, by and large, are easy to please. If sex is on the table, they’re more than happy to, well, do it on the table. But women are more nuanced. The kind of sex she wants depends on her mood, and it’s your job (lucky you!) to figure out what that mood might be. Then, of course, you’ll need a situation-specific move handy for whatever direction you both head for the evening (or lunch hour, for that matter).
So as her orgasm QB, what’s your best scoring option? “The key is to truly diversify your seduction efforts,” says sex educator Yvonne K. Fulbright, Ph.D. “If you do, you’ll continue to feel the challenge of the chase well into the relationship. You’ll never be bored.” Read on for some clever new responses to five key sexual scenarios, and then expand your play-calling from there.
Situation 1: She Had a Really Bad Day
Solution: Woo-Her Sex!
Women are inevitably turned on by men who pay close attention to them—a vibe she won’t pick up on if you seem to have your eyes on the prize. Woo-her sex is about intimacy, the thing women desire most in bed, according to a study from the University of Kentucky. “You’ll know that she’s craving intimacy if she’s showing you more affection,” says study author Kristen Mark, Ph.D. Also look for signs of stress, Fulbright says—sighs, complaints about back pain. If she’s had a rough day, bring on the John Legend and bench the Jay-Z.
Your Move: You need to show your partner that you’re not simply trying to get her naked. Even just bringing her a glass of wine—unprompted—will prove that you’re paying attention. But avoid cliches, warns Eric Marlowe Garrison, M.Sc., a sex counselor. “Instead of candles with her bubble bath, warm up her towel in the dryer and hand it to her when she steps out,” he says. Better: You dry her off with that warm towel.
Situation 2: She’s Frisky and Flirty
Solution: Do-Her Sex!
Mark’s study found that women long to be treated as objects of desire in bed, and they don’t always want a man to be the boy next door. “Women today know their bodies very well, and they know what they want,” says Marita McCabe, Ph.D., a psychologist at Deakin University. But sometimes men are afraid of failure or embarrassment, so they don’t try to be the assertive sexual superstars McCabe says women find so stimulating. Gauge her friskiness: Do her fingers trail along your back when she walks past you? Does she stretch out in bed like a model? Then she probably wants action.
Your Move: Tell her exactly what you’d like to do with or to her, Garrison says. Don’t spare the details. If erotic ad-libbing doesn’t come naturally, write out your red-hot fantasy ahead of time. Ask her to do the same, and then read each other a few pages. You won’t get far before your notepads—and the two of you—are on the floor.
Situation 3: You’re Feeling Too Familiar
Solution: Reunion Sex!
Remember, absence makes the heart grow hornier. A study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin by Lisa Hamilton, Ph.D., found that women experience a rise in testosterone the day before reuniting with a partner. Maintaining a vibrant erotic life also depends on a degree of emotional distance, Mark adds. “When you lose your sense of independence, it’s hard to feel confident, and that can seep into your sex life,” she says. Engineering some space into your relationship can pay off big.
Your Move: Whatever your strategy—golfing with buds, a business trip—use the distance to build anticipation for the reunion. Start by sending sexy texts. “People might feel more comfortable talking about their sexual desires electronically rather than in person,” says Hamilton. When you finally do reunite, don’t go right home. Whisk her to a secluded spot, park the car, and fool around without sealing the deal. This prolongs the experience until you’re home.
Situation 4: You’ve Run Out of Ideas
Solution: Hollywood Sex!
Your goal is simple: sex as fresh and hot as anything you see in the movies. “When life becomes a little too monotonous, fantasy and/or porn can be a fun and even useful escape,” says Mark. This type of sex is best for couples who have been together for a few years, or couples who have moved in together and need a novelty boost.
Your Move: Find a few favorite sex scenes (hint: celebritymoviearchive.com), watch them together, and decide which ones turn you on the most. Is your lady an Angelina Jolie in Original Sin or a Kristin Scott Thomas in The English Patient? Watch several films with her to find out which actresses she relates to. See something you like in a porn flick? Then move to the next step, Garrison says: a sex-shop date. Once inside, split up for 15 minutes and choose a toy that intrigues you. Describe why it turns you on. You’ll gain a much better sense of each other’s preferences and boundaries. Then go back home, watch a few clips, and make some sex scenes of your own.
Situation 5: You’re in the Bored-Room
Solution: Crazy Sex!
Step way outside the box here for a spontaneous, high-adrenaline encounter that might even scare you both a little. Hamilton, who also worked on a study about arousal and exercise, says nothing increases arousal like a thumping heart. It’s why The Bachelor has people free-falling and flying around in helicopters. “Having sex in a new environment will refresh the way you touch each other,” says Fulbright. “Novelty makes the brain release dopamine, and this fuels sexual desire.”
Your Move: Try a new sport with your mate, or go camping and have some outdoor sex. Garrison’s clients have sneaked into stairwells (head to the top floor!), fooled around in bathrooms at weddings, and gotten busy in gym shower stalls at closing time. He says a little fear (of getting caught) boosts oxytocin, which can fuel arousal. If public horseplay is off the table, watch a scary movie. You’ll be stuck to each other in no time.